5 Jobs You Can Get With A Master’s in Respiratory Therapy

Registered Respiratory Therapists have always been integral to the health care community, but like many other health care workers, their jobs have become even more essential in recent years. Breathing is one of the most essential functions of the human body, and healthcare workers working in respiratory care play a pivotal role in a multitude of different areas of medicine. Respiratory therapists can work with patients, from newborns to hospice care and everything in between.

As the pulmonary field continues to evolve and responsibilities begin to shift, it is important to train the next generation of respiratory leaders.  Earning a Master’s Degree in Respiratory Therapy allows respiratory care practitioners to take the next step in their career path. But what exactly is the next step?

Note: All salary and job outlook information is based on national estimates by the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) or similar sources and is subject to variation depending on geographic location and employer.

Respiratory Therapist Management and Leadership Positions

(Medical and Health Services Managers)

Respiratory Therapy Leaders working with Hospital Administration

Those with a bachelor’s degree in respiratory therapy have plenty of experience working on a respiratory care team but earning a master’s can open many more opportunities. One career option is a clinical team lead. This position typically reports to the department manager and oversees daily operations, and assignments create schedules, and attend to the needs of the department and the respiratory patients.

With a master’s degree, therapists are also qualified for department manager positions or network executive director positions, usually depending on years of experience. Both jobs involve supervising all clinical team leads and respiratory therapy technicians. In addition, these positions oversee all department operations, approve and direct budgets, hire and manage employees, and fulfill any other responsibilities as needed. These leadership roles are essential to the operations of any respiratory care department. They are outstanding career opportunities for anyone interested in climbing the ladder in the respiratory care field.

Median Salary: $104,830 per year

Job Outlook (Through 2032): 28% Growth

Source (Bureau of Labor Statistics): https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/medical-and-health-services-managers.htm

Respiratory Care Jobs in Higher Education

(Health Specialties Teachers – Higher Education)

Respiratory Care students listening to respiratory educator in college classroom.

Working as a respiratory therapist is a demanding and rewarding profession but working with patients can be taxing both physically and mentally. As a result, some respiratory therapists choose to get their master’s degrees to enter higher education.

Teaching and training the next generation of respiratory therapists is just as important as working with patients. By earning a master’s in respiratory therapy, students can begin working in the academic space as part-time or full-time faculty or adjunct faculty. These positions assist current professors or allow respiratory care experts to teach classes contractually.

To continue the journey into academia, MSRT graduates can go on to become professors, directors of clinical education, or even program directors. Of course, everyone’s goals and career paths look different but earning a master’s in respiratory therapy can allow for many careers in the academic space.

Median Salary: $100,300 per year

Job Outlook (Through 2032): 8% Growth

Source (Bureau of Labor Statistics): https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes251071.htm

Respiratory Care and Working in Clinical Education

(Health Specialties Teachers – Hospital/Clinic)

Respiratory care educator teaching in a hospital setting.

For MSRT graduates who enjoy working in a clinical setting and are also interested in furthering the education of future respiratory therapists, working in clinical education may be the best option. Patient and family educators are critical to any respiratory care team. When working with patients, it is essential to provide care and education to help the patient or their families create plans for long-term health and success. Another position that is like a family and patient educator would be a simulation educator; this position provides training to respiratory care professionals, students, and patients for the different simulators and equipment used during all stages of respiratory care.

Other positions that would be a good fit for any master’s in respiratory therapy graduate interested in working in a clinical education setting would be a technical specialist for a manufacturer, education coordinator, or department clinical educator or trainer. All these positions involve working with respiratory care professionals or students in a clinical setting. Clinical education is just as important as higher education to ensure that respiratory care patients receive the highest quality care from highly qualified medical professionals.

Median Salary: $100,300 per year

Job Outlook (Through 2032): 8% Growth

Source (Bureau of Labor Statistics): https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes251071.htm

Respiratory Care and Working in Research

(Medical Scientists)

Respiratory care clinical research being done.

Research is at the core of all modern medicine. Working in research can be an excellent option for anyone interested in studying current medical practices and learning how to improve them. In addition, respiratory therapists can add valuable insight into research projects that aim to evolve respiratory care. Many students choose to become involved in research because they prefer not to work in a clinical setting. Research coordinator roles usually require a master’s degree and a certain level of experience to be qualified. A research coordinator role working on or in respiratory care usually communicates with physicians, the study team, research subjects, and their parents or caregivers if appropriate.

Median Salary: $99,930 per year

Job Outlook (Through 2032): 10% Growth

Source (Bureau of Labor Statistics): https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/medical-scientists.htm

Respiratory Therapy Liaison and Consulting

(Medical Device Consultant)

Image of nebulizer used for respiratory therapyOne of the core components to the Master’s Degree in Respiratory Therapy at the University of Cincinnati is training in education related to the pulmonary field.  The medical equipment and pharmaceuticals industry provides an opportunity for trained respiratory educators to utilize their knowledge and expertise in the form of consulting. Medical device consultants work with both the manufacturers as well as the hospitals and clinics who use the equipment to ensure that they are being used correctly and to help troubleshoot technical problems that may arise.  As the pulmonary field continues to grow and treatments improve and evolve, it is important that experienced respiratory therapists are at the forefront of this change and help to usher the industry forward.  This industry is classified by the BLS under the category of medical and health services managers, but the salary outlook seems to be slightly higher than that general field.

Median Salary: $114,884 per year

Job Outlook (Through 2032): 28% Growth

Source (Bureau of Labor Statistics and ZipRecruiter): https://www.ziprecruiter.com/Salaries/Medical-Device-Consultant-Salary and https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/medical-and-health-services-managers.htm
Which Career Path is Right for You?

There are many things to consider when choosing a career in respiratory therapy. Still, one thing is for sure, earning a master’s degree in respiratory therapy can be a great asset to help you progress in your career and achieve your goals. The University of Cincinnati Online is here to make taking the next step as easy as possible, check out the admission requirements and curriculum overview to see if this program is right for you.

Learn More About UC’s online Master’s in Respiratory Therapy Program and apply today.

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